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- Functional Characterization of Plant Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolases
- Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) terminates the endocannabinoid signaling pathway that regulates numerous neurobehavioral processes in animals by hydrolyzing a class of lipid mediators, N-acylethanolamines (NAEs). Recent identification of an Arabidopsis FAAH homologue (AtFAAH) and several studies, especially those using AtFAAH overexpressing and knock-out lines suggest that a FAAH-mediated pathway exists in plants for the metabolism of endogenous NAEs. Here, I provide evidence to support this concept by identifying candidate FAAH cDNA sequences in diverse plant species. NAE amidohydrolase assays confirmed that several of the proteins encoded by these cDNAs indeed catalyzed the hydrolysis of NAEs in vitro. Kinetic parameters, inhibition properties, and substrate specificities of the plant FAAH enzymes were very similar to those of mammalian FAAH. Five amino acid residues determined to be important for catalysis by rat FAAH were absolutely conserved within the plant FAAH sequences. Site-directed mutation of each of the five putative catalytic residues in AtFAAH abolished its hydrolytic activity when expressed in Escherichia coli. Contrary to overexpression of native AtFAAH in Arabidopsis that results in enhanced seedling growth, and in seedlings that were insensitive to exogenous NAE, overexpression of the inactive AtFAAH mutants showed no growth enhancement and no NAE tolerance. However, both active and inactive AtFAAH overexpressors displayed hypersensitivity to ABA, suggesting a function of the enzyme independent of its catalytic activity toward NAE substrates. Yeast two-hybrid screening identified Arg/Ser-rich zinc knuckle-containing protein as a candidate protein that physically and domain-specifically interacts with AtFAAH and its T-DNA knock-out Arabidopsis was hypersensitive to ABA to a degree similar to AtFAAH overexpressors. Taken together, AtFAAH appears to have a bifurcating function, via NAE hydrolysis and protein-protein interaction, to control Arabidopsis growth and interaction with phytohormone signaling pathways. These studies help to functionally define the group of enzymes that metabolize NAEs in plants, and further will expand the knowledge-base of lipid metabolism and signaling for manipulation of various physiological processes important to plant growth and responses to environmental stress.
- Gene Expression Profiling of the nip Mutant in Medicago truncatula
- The study of root nodule symbiosis between nitrogen-fixing bacteria and leguminous plant species is important because of the ability to supplement fixed nitrogen fertilizers and increase plant growth in poor soils. Our group has isolated a mutant called nip in the model legume Medicago truncatula that is defective in nodule symbiosis. The nip mutant (numerous infections with polyphenolics) becomes infected by Sinorhizobium meliloti but then accumulates polyphenolic defense compounds in the nodule and fails to progress to a stage where nitrogen fixation can occur. Analysis of the transcriptome of nip roots prior to inoculation with rhizobia was undertaken using Affymetric Medicago Genome Array microarrays. The total RNA of 5-day old uninoculated seedlings was analyzed in triplicate to screen for the NIP gene based on downregulated transcript levels in the mutant as compared to wild type. Further microarray data was generated from 10 days post inoculation (dpi) nip and wild type plants. Analysis of the most highly downregulated transcripts revealed that the NIP gene was not identifiable based on transcript level. Putative gene function was assigned to transcripts with altered expression patterns in order to characterize the nip mutation phenotypically as inferred from the transcriptome. Functional analysis revealed a large number of chaperone proteins were highly expressed in the nip mutant, indicating high stress in the mutant prior to infection by rhizobia. Additionally, a database containing the information regarding the nip expression profile at both 0 days post inoculation (dpi) and 10 dpi were created for screening of candidate genes as predicted from sequence in the genomic region containing NIP.
- Genetic Modification of Fatty Acid Profiles in Cotton
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The industrial uses of cottonseed oil are limited by its fatty acid composition. Genetic modification of cotton lipid profiles using seed-specific promoters could allow cotton growers to produce valuable new oils in the seed without adverse effects on fiber quality and yield, therefore making this crop more commercially profitable. Transgenic cotton callus harboring a diverged fatty acid desaturase gene (FADX) from Momordica charantia was characterized for production of alpha-eleostearic acid (conjugated double bonds: 18:3 D9 cis, 11 trans, 13 trans), not normally found in cotton. Gas chromatography (GC) in conjunction with mass spectrometry (MS) confirmed production of alpha-eleostearic acid in the transgenic cotton tissues. A second series of transformation experiments introduced the cotton fatty acid thioesterase B (FATB) cDNA, fused to the seed-specific oleosin promoter into cotton to promote the over-expression of FATB, to generate cotton with increased palmitate in the cottonseed. PCR amplification, as well as fatty acid analysis by gas chromatography, confirmed introduction of the FATB cDNA in transgenic tissues. Collectively, these results demonstrate the feasibility of manipulating the fatty acid composition in cotton via transgenic approaches and form the basis for continued efforts to create novel oils in cottonseed.
- Hindrance of the Myosin Power Stroke Posed by the Proximity to the Troponin Complex Identified Using a Novel LRET Fluorescent Nanocircuit
- A novel luminescence resonance energy transfer (LRET) nanocircuit assay involving a donor and two acceptors in tandem was developed to study the dynamic interaction of skeletal muscle contraction proteins. The donor transmits energy relayed to the acceptors distinguishing myosin subfragment-1 (S1) lever arm orientations. The last acceptor allows the detection of S1's bound near or in between troponin complexes on the thin filament. Additionally, calcium related changes between troponin T and myosin were detected. Based on this data, the troponin complex situated every 7 actin monomers, hinders adjacently bound myosins to complete their power stroke; whereas myosins bound in between troponin complexes undergo complete power strokes.
- Identification and Characterization of an Arabidopsis Thaliana Mutant with Tolerance to N-lauroylethanolamime
- N-Acylethanolamines (NAEs) are fatty acid derivatives in plants that negatively influence seedling growth. N-Lauroylethanolamine (NAE 12:0), one type of NAE, inhibits root length, increases radial swelling of root tips and reduces root hair numbers in a dose dependent manner in Arabidopis thaliana L. (ecotype Columbia). A forward genetics approach was employed by screening a population of T-DNA “activation-tagged” developed by the Salk Institute lines for NAE resistance to identify potential genes involved in NAE signaling events in Arabidopsis thaliana L. (ecotype Columbia). Seeds of the activation tagged lines were grown at 0, 25, 30, 50, 75 and 100 µM N-lauroylethanolamime (NAE 12:0). Ten plants which displayed NAE tolerance (NRA) seedling phenotypes, compared with wildtype (Columbia, Col-0) seedlings were identified. I focused on one mutant line, identified as NRA 25, where the tolerance to NAE 12:0 appears to be mediated by a single dominant, nuclear gene. Thermal asymmetric interlaced (TAIL) PCR identified the location of the T-DNA insert as 3.86 kbp upstream of the locus At1g68510. Quantitative PCR indicated that the transcript level corresponding to At1g68510 is upregulated approximately 20 fold in the mutant relative to wildtype. To determine whether the NAE tolerance in NRA 25 is associated with overexpression of At1g68510 I created overexpressing lines of At1g68510 with and without GFP fusions behind the 2X35S CaMV promoter. As predicted, results with overexpressing lines of At1g68510 also exhibited enhanced resistance to NAE when compared with the wildtype. Confocal images of the fusion proteins suggest that GFP-At1g68510 is concentrated in the nucleus and this was confirmed by counterstaining with 4', 6-Diamidino-2-phenylindol (DAPI). Futhermore, At1g68510 overexpressing lines and NRA 25 line also exhibited tolerance to abscisic acid (ABA) during seedling germination. The findings suggests that At1g68510 overexpression mediates seedling tolerance to both ABA and NAE, a mechanism independent of fatty acid amide hydrolase in which its overexpression leads to NAE resistance but hypersensitivity to ABA. The next steps are to identify the association of At1g68510 with specific genomic regions or interacting proteins that may be additional components of NAE signaling in plants.
- Identification and quantification of lipid metabolites in cotton fibers: Reconciliation with metabolic pathway predictions from DNA databases.
- The lipid composition of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum, L) fibers was determined. Fatty acid profiles revealed that linolenate and palmitate were the most abundant fatty acids present in fiber cells. Phosphatidylcholine was the predominant lipid class in fiber cells, while phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol and digalactosyldiacylglycerol were also prevalent. An unusually high amount of phosphatidic acid was observed in frozen cotton fibers. Phospholipase D activity assays revealed that this enzyme readily hydrolyzed radioactive phosphatidylcholine into phosphatidic acid. A profile of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) for genes involved in lipid metabolism in cotton fibers was also obtained. This EST profile along with our lipid metabolite data was used to predict lipid metabolic pathways in cotton fiber cells.
- Identification of Endogenous Substrates for ADP-Ribosylation in Rat Liver
- Bacterial toxins have been shown to modify animal cell proteins in vivo with ADPR. Animal cells also contain endogenous enzymes that can modify proteins. Indirect evidence for the existence in vivo of rat liver proteins modified by ADPR on arginine residues has been reported previously. Presented here is direct evidence for the existence of ADP-ribosylarginine in rat liver proteins. Proteins were subjected to exhaustive protease digestion and ADP-ribosyl amino acids were isolated by boronate chromatography.
- Identification of Three Symbiosome Targeting Domains in the MtENOD8 Protein and Cell-to-cell MtENOD8 mRNA Movement in Nodules
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The model legume, Medicago truncatula, is able to enter into a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, known as rhizobia. This relationship involves a carbon for nitrogen exchange in which the plant provides reduced carbon from photosynthesis in exchange for reduced, or “fixed” atmospheric nitrogen, which allows the plant to thrive in nitrogen depleted soils. Rhizobia infect and enter plant root organs, known as nodules, where they reside inside the plant cell in a novel organelle, known as the symbiosome where nitrogen fixation occurs. the symbiosome is enriched in plant proteins, however, little is known about the mechanisms that direct plant proteins to the symbiosome. Using the M. truncatula ENOD8 (MtENOD8) protein as a model to explore symbiosome protein targeting, 3-cis domains were identified within MtENOD8 capable of directing green fluorescent protein (GFP) to the symbiosome, including its N-terminal signal peptide (SP). the SP delivered GFP to the vacuole in the absence of nodules suggesting that symbiosome proteins share a common targeting pathway with vacuolar proteins. a time course analysis during nodulation indicated that there is a nodule specific redirection of MtENOD8-SP from the vacuole to the symbiosome in a MtNIP/LATD dependent manner. GFP expression by the MtENOD8 promoter revealed spatial discrepancy between promoter activity and protein localization. in situ localization of MtENOD8 mRNA showed localization to infected cells, where the protein is found, suggesting mRNA cell-to-cell movement. Expression of MtENOD8 in Arabidopsis showed that the SP did not direct GFP to the vacuole indicating that vacuolar targeting of MtENOD8’s SP may be legume specific. Taken together, the research presented here indicates that the MtENOD8 symbiosome protein has evolved redundant domains for targeting, which has part of a common pathway with vacuolar proteins. Observed spatial discrepancy between the MtENOD8 promoter and protein shows additional mechanisms of gene regulation through cell-to-cell mRNA movement, previously unknown in nodules.
- Identifying genetic interactions of the spindle checkpoint in Caenorhabditis elegans.
- Faithful segregation of chromosomes is ensured by the spindle checkpoint. If a kinetochore does not correctly attach to a microtubule the spindle checkpoint stops cell cycle progression until all chromosomes are attached to microtubules or tension is experienced while pulling the chromosomes. The C. elegans gene, san-1, is required for spindle checkpoint function and anoxia survival. To further understand the role of san-1 in the spindle checkpoint, an RNAi screen was conducted to identify genetic interactions with san-1. The kinetochore gene hcp-1 identified in this screen, was known to have a genetic interaction with hcp-2. Interestingly, san-1(ok1580);hcp-2(ok1757) had embryonic and larval lethal phenotypes, but the phenotypes observed are less severe compared to the phenotypes of san-1(ok1580);hcp-1(RNAi) animals. Both san-1(ok1580);hcp-1(RNAi) and san-1(ok1580);hcp-2(RNAi) produce eggs that may hatch; but san-1(ok1580):hcp-1(RNAi) larvae do not survive to adulthood due to defects caused by aberrant chromosome segregations during development. Y54G9A.6 encodes the C. elegans homolog of bub-3, and has spindle checkpoint function. In C.elegans, bub-3 has genetic interactions with san-1 and mdf-2. An RNAi screen for genetic interactions with bub-3 identified that F31F6.3 may potentially have a genetic interaction with bub-3. This work provided genetic evidence that hcp-1, hcp-2 and F31F6.2 interact with spindle checkpoint genes.
- Interactions of N-Acylethanolamine Metabolism and Abscisic Acid Signaling in Arabidopsis Thaliana Seedlings
- N-Acylethanolamines (NAEs) are endogenous plant lipids hydrolyzed by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). When wildtype Arabidopsis thaliana seeds were germinated and grown in exogenous NAE 12:0 (35 µM and above), growth was severely reduced in a concentration dependent manner. Wildtype A. thaliana seeds sown on exogenous abscisic acid (ABA) exhibited similar growth reduction to that seen with NAE treatment. AtFAAH knockouts grew and developed similarly to WT, but AtFAAH overexpressor lines show markedly enhanced sensitivity to ABA. When low levels of NAE and ABA, which have very little effect on growth alone, were combined, there was a dramatic reduction in seedling growth in all three genotypes, indicating a synergistic interaction between ABA and NAE. Notably, this synergistic arrest of seedling growth was partially reversed in the ABA insensitive (abi) mutant abi3-1, indicating that a functional ABA signaling pathway is required for the full synergistic effect. This synergistic growth arrest results in an increased accumulation of NAEs, but no concomitant increase in ABA levels. The combined NAE and ABA treatment induced a dose-dependent increase in ABI3 transcript levels, which was inversely related to growth. The ABA responsive genes AtHVA22B and RD29B also had increased expression in both NAE and ABA treatment. The abi3-1 mutant showed no expression of ABI3 and AtHVA22B, but RD29B expression remained similar to wildtype seedlings, suggesting an alternate mechanism for NAE and ABA interaction. Taken together, these data suggest that NAE metabolism acts through ABI3-dependent and independent pathways in the negative regulation of seedling development.
- Kinetic and Chemical Mechanism of 6-phosphogluconate Dehydrogenase from Candida Utilis
- A complete initial velocity study of the 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase from Candida utilis in both reaction directions suggests a rapid equilibrium random kinetic mechanism with dead-end E:NADP:(ribulose 5-phosphate) and E:NADPH:(6- phosphogluconate) complexes. Initial velocity studies obtained as a function of pH and using NAD as the dinucleotide substrate for the reaction suggest that the 2'-phosphate is critical for productive binding of the dinucleotide substrate. Primary deuterium isotope effects using 3-<i-6-phosphogluconate were obtained for the 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase reaction using NADP and various alternative inucleotide substrates.
- Kinetic and Chemical Mechanism of O-Acetylserine Sulfhydrylase-B from Salmonella Typhimurium
- Initial velocity studies of O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-B (OASS-B) from Salmonella typhimurium using both natural and alternative substrates suggest a Bi Bi ping pong kinetic mechanism with double substrate competitive inhibition. The ping pong mechanism is corroborated by a qualitative and quantitative analysis of product and dead-end inhibition. Product inhibition by acetate is S-parabolic noncompetitive, indication of a combination of acetate with E followed by OAS. These data suggest some randomness to the OASS-B kinetic mechanism. The pH dependence of kinetic parameters was determined in order to obtain information on the acid-base chemical mechanism for the OASS-B reaction. A mechanism is proposed in which an enzyme general base accepts a proton from α-amine of O-acetylserine, while a second enzyme general base acts by polarizing the acetyl carbonyl assisting in the β-elimination of the acetyl group of O-acetylserine. The ε-amine of the active site lysine acts as a general base to abstract the α-proton in the β-elimination of acetate. At the end of the first half reaction the ε-amine of the active site lysine that formed the internal Schiff base and the general base are protonated. The resulting α-aminoacrylate intermediate undergoes a Michael addition with HS‾ and the active site lysine donates its proton to the α-carbon to give cysteine and regenerate enzyme to start the second half reaction. In addition, substrate specificity, stereochemistry of the internal Schiff base at C4', and sequence around active site lysine of O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A have been determined. The [4'-^3H]pyridoxamine generated by reduction of the internal Schiff base with sodium [^3H]borohydride retained most of its tritium after incubation with apoaspartate aminotransferase. These results agree with the hypothesis put forth by Dunathan (Dunathan, 1971; Dunathan and Voet, 1974) that a single surface (Re face) of the active site PLP is accessible to solvent. The sequence around the active site lysine is AsnProSerPheSerValLysCysArg.
- Kinetic and Chemical Mechanism of Pyrophosphate-Dependent Phosphofructokinase
- Data obtained from isotope exchange at equilibrium, exchange of inorganic phosphate against forward reaction flux, and positional isotope exchange of 18O from the (βγ-bridge position of pyrophosphate to a (β-nonbridge position all indicate that the pyrophosphate-dependent phosphofructokinase from Propionibacterium freudenreichii has a rapid equilibrium random kinetic mechanism. All exchange reactions are strongly inhibited at high concentrations of the fructose 6-phosphate/Pi and MgPPi/Pi substrate-product pairs and weakly inhibited at high concentrations of the MgPPi/fructose 1,6-bisphosphate pair suggesting three dead-end complexes, E:F6P:Pi, E:MgPPi:Pi, and E:FBP:MgPPi. Neither back-exchange by [32p] nor positional isotope exchange of 18O-bridge-labeled pyrophosphate was observed under any conditions, suggesting that either the chemical interconversion step or a step prior to it limits the overall rate of the reaction. Reduction of the pyridoxal 5'-phosphate-inactivated enzyme with NaB[3H]4 indicates that about 7 lysines are modified in free enzyme and fructose 1,6-bisphosphate protects 2 of these from modification. The pH dependence of the enzyme-reactant dissociation constants suggests that the phosphates of fructose 6-phosphate, fructose 1,6-bisphosphate, inorganic phosphate, and Mg-pyrophosphate must be completely ionized and that lysines are present in the vicinity of the 1- and 6-phosphates of the sugar phosphate and bisphosphates probably directly coordinated to these phosphates. The pH dependence of kinetic parameters suggests that the enzyme catalyzes its reaction via general acid-base catalysis with the use of a proton shuttle. The base is required unprotonated in both reaction directions. In the direction of fructose 6-phosphate phosphorylation the base accepts a proton from the hydroxyl at C-l of F6P and then donates it to protonate the leaving phosphate. The maximum velocity of the reaction is pH independent in both reaction directions while V/K profiles exhibit pKs for binding groups (including enzyme and reactant functional groups) as well as pKs for enzyme catalytic groups. These data suggest that reactants bind only when correctly protonated and only to the correctly protonated form of the enzyme.
- Luminescence Resonance Energy Transfer-Based Modeling of Troponin in the Presence of Myosin and Troponin/Tropomyosin Defining Myosin Binding Target Zones in the Reconstituted Thin Filament
- Mechanistic details on the regulation of striated muscle contraction still need to be determined, particularly the specific structural locations of the elements comprising the thick and thin filaments. Of special interest is the location of the regulatory component, troponin, on the actin filament and how its presence influences the behavior of myosin binding to the thin filament. In the present study: (1) Luminescence resonance energy transfer was used to monitor potential conformational changes in the reconstituted thin filament between the C-terminal region of troponin T and myosin subfragment 1; (2) Location of troponin in previously derived atomic models of the acto-myosin complex was mapped to visualize specific contacts; and (3) Shortened tropomyosin was engineered and protein binding and ATPase assays were performed to study the effect of myosin binding close to the troponin complex. Analysis of the results suggest the following: (1) Irrespective of calcium levels, the C-terminal region of troponin T is located close to myosin loop 3 and a few actin helices that may perturb strong acto-myosin interactions responsible for force production. (2) Atomic models indicate myosin subfragment 1 cannot attain the post- powerstroke state due to the full motion of the lever arm being sterically hindered by troponin. (3) A shortened tropomyosin with five actin binding modules (instead of the native seven in muscle cells) binds actin contiguously in a head-to-tail manner and serves to increase the periodicity of troponin complexes on the actin filament. Such behavior eliminates the structure of the actin filament being responsible for the binding location of tropomyosin. (4) Differential behavior of myosin subfragment 1 i.e. (a) binding adjacent to troponin and (b) binding further away from troponin, is apparent as tropomyosin and troponin appear to govern the regions or "target zones" where myosin can bind productively along the actin filament. Physiologically, myosins able to bind close to troponin, but not participate in force production may function as mechanical sensors to attenuate or dampen the force generated from the so-called "target zones". Therefore, this could be a pseudo-regulatory mechanism that functions to protect the contractile apparatus from damage.
- Manipulating Sucrose Proton Symporters to Understand Phloem Loading
- Phloem vascular tissues transport sugars synthesized by photosynthesis in mature leaves by a process called phloem loading in source tissues and unloading in sink tissues. Phloem loading in source leaves is catalyzed by Suc/H+ symporters (SUTs) which are energized by proton motive force. In Arabidopsis the principal and perhaps exclusive SUT catalyzing phloem loading is AtSUC2. In mutant plants harboring a T-DNA insertion in each of the functional SUT-family members, only Atsuc2 mutants demonstrate overtly debilitated phloem transport. Analysis of a mutant allele (Atsuc2-4) of AtSUC2 with a T-DNA insertion in the second intron showed severely stunted phenotype similar to previously analyzed Atsuc2 null alleles. However unlike previous alleles Atsuc2-4 produced viable seeds. Analysis of phloem specific promoters showed that promoter expression was regulated by Suc concentration. Unlike AtSUC2p, heterologous promoter CoYMVp was not repressed under high Suc conc. Further analysis was conducted using CoYMVp to test the capacity of diverse clades in SUT-gene family for transferring Suc in planta in Atsuc2 - / - mutant background. AtSUC1 and ZmSUT1 from maize complemented Atsuc2 mutant plants to the highest level compared to all other transporters. Over-expression of the above SUTs in phloem showed enhanced Suc loading and transport, but against expectations, plants were stunted. The implications of SUT over-expression to enhance phloem transport and loading are discussed and how it induces a perception of phosphate imbalance is presented.
- Manipulations of Sucrose/proton Symporters and Proton-pumping Pyrophosphatase Lead to Enhanced Phloem Transport But Have Contrasting Effects on Plant Biomass
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Delivery of photoassimilate, mainly sucrose (Suc) from photoautotrophic source leaves provides the substrate for the growth and maintenance of sink tissues such as roots, storage tissues, flowers and fruits, juvenile organs, and seeds. Phloem loading is the energized process of accumulating solute in the sieve element/companion cell complex of source leaf phloem to generate the hydrostatic pressure that drives long-distance transport. In many plants this is catalyzed by Suc/Proton (H+) symporters (SUTs) which are energized by the proton motive force (PMF). Overexpression of SUTs was tested as means to enhance phloem transport and plant productivity. Phloem specific overexpression of AtSUC2 in wild type (WT) tobacco resulted in enhanced Suc loading and transport, but against the hypothesis, plants were stunted and accumulated carbohydrates in the leaves, possibly due to lack of sufficient energy to support enhanced phloem transport. The energy for SUT mediated phloem loading is provided from the PMF, which is ultimately supplied by the oxidation of a small proportion of the loaded photoassimilates. It was previously shown that inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi) is necessary for this oxidation and overexpressing a proton-pumping pyrophosphatase (AVP1) enhanced both shoot and root growth, and augmented several energized processes like nutrient acquisition and stress responses. We propose that AVP1 localizes to the PM of phloem cells and uses PMF to synthesize PPi rather than hydrolyze it, and in doing so, maintains PPi levels for efficient Suc oxidation and ATP production. Enhanced ATP production in turn strengthens the PMF via plasma membrane (PM) ATPase, increasing phloem energization and phloem transport. Phloem-specific and constitutive AVP1 overexpressing lines showed increased growth and more efficiently moved carbohydrates to sink organs compared to WT. This suggested changes in metabolic flux but diagnostic metabolites of central metabolism did not show changes in steady state levels. This research focuses on fundamental aspects of carbon utilization and transport, and has a strong applied component, since increased H+-PPase activity enhances plant biomass, nutrient up-take capacities, and stress tolerance for as yet not fully characterized reasons.
- Mechanism of the Adenosine 3',5'-Monophosphate Dependent Protein Kinase
- Isotope partitioning experiments were carried out with the adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (cAPK) from bovine hearts to obtain information on the order of addition of reactants and the relative rates of reactant release from enzyme compared to the catalytic step(s). A value of 100% trapping for both ErMgATP-[γ-32P] and E:3H-Serpeptide at low Mgf indicates that MgATP and Serpeptide dissociate slowly from the enzyme compared to the catalytic step(s). The K_Serpeptide for MgATP trapping is 17 μM, while the K_MgATP for Serpeptide trapping is 0.58 mM. The latter data indicate that the off-rate for MgATP from the E:MgATP complex is 14 s^-1 while that for Serpeptide from the E: Serpeptide complex is 64 s^-1. At high Mg^, 100% trapping is obtained for the E:MgATP-[γ-32P] complex but only 40% is obtained for the E:Serpeptide complex. Thus, the off-rate for Serpeptide from the E:MgATP:Serpeptide complex becomes significant at high Mg_f. Data suggest a random mechanism in which MgATP is sticky. The V for the cAPK reaction increases 1.5-1.7 fold in the presence of the R_II in the presence of saturating cAMP at a stoichiometry of R:C of 1:1. No change is obtained with the type-I complex under these conditions. At higher ratio of R:C (up to 100) no further change is observed with the type-II complex but inhibition by the type-I R_2(cAMP)_4 complex competitive vs. Serpeptide is observed. The activiation observed in the presence type-II R_2(cAMP)_4 effects neither the K_m for Serpeptide nor the K_m for MgATP. Both the activating affect of the type-II complex and the inhibitory effect of the type-I complex are dependent on the Mg_f with more type-II activation obtained the higher the Mg_f and more type-I complex required for inhibition the higher the Mg_f. The activation and inhibition are discussed in terms of the mechanism of the protein kinase.
- Metabolic Engineering of Raffinose-Family Oligosaccharides in the Phloem Reveals Alterations in Patterns of Carbon Partitioning and Enhances Resistance to Green Peach Aphid
- Phloem transport is along hydrostatic pressure gradients generated by differences in solute concentration between source and sink tissues. Numerous species accumulate raffinose-family oligosaccharides (RFOs) in the phloem of mature leaves to accentuate the pressure gradient between source and sinks. In this study, metabolic engineering was used to generate RFOs at the inception of the translocation stream of Arabidopsis thaliana, which transports predominantly sucrose. To do this, three genes, GALACTINOL SYNTHASE, RAFFINOSE SYNTHASE and STACHYOSE SYNTHASE, were expressed from promoters specific to the companion cells of minor veins. Two transgenic lines homozygous for all three genes (GRS63 and GRS47) were selected for further analysis. Sugars were extracted and quantified by high performance anion exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection (HPAEC-PAD), and 21-day old plants of both lines had levels of galactinol, raffinose, and stachyose approaching 50% of total soluble sugar. All three exotic sugars were also identified in phloem exudates from excised leaves of transgenic plants whereas levels were negligible in exudates from wild type leaves. Differences in starch accumulation or degradation between wild type and GRS63 and GRS47 lines were not observed. Similarly, there were no differences in vegetative growth between wild type and engineered plants, but engineered plants flowered earlier. Finally, since the sugar composition of the phloem translocation stream is altered in these plants, we tested for aphid feeding. When green peach aphids were given a choice between WT and transgenic plants, WT plants were preferred. When aphids were reared on only WT or only transgenic plants, aphid fecundity was reduced on the transgenic plants. When aphids were fed on artificial media with and without RFOs, aphid reproduction did not show differences, suggesting the aphid resistance is not a direct effect of the exotic sugars.
- Molecular and biochemical characterization of phospholipase D in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L) seedlings.
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N-Acylethanolamines (NAEs) are enriched in seed-derived tissues and are believed to be formed from the membrane phospholipid, N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE) via the action of phospholipase D (PLD). In an effort to identify a functional NAPE-PLD in cotton seeds and seedlings, we have screened a cotton seedling cDNA (cotyledon mRNA from 48 h dark grown seedlings) library with a 1.2 kb tobacco partial cDNA fragment encoding the middle third of a putative PLDβ/γ (genbank accession, AF195614) isoform. Six plaques were isolated from the Uni-ZAP lambda library, excised as pBluescript SK(-) phagemids and subjected to nucleotide sequence analysis. Alignment of derived sequences with Arabidopsis PLD family members indicated that the cDNAs represent six different PLD gene products -three putative PLD β isoforms and three putative PLD δ isoforms. The PLD β isoforms, designated Ghpldβ1a, GHpldβ1b and a truncated Ghpldβ1b isoform. Both the full-length PLD β proteins contained characteristic HKxxxxD catalytic domains, a PC-binding domain, a PIP2-binding domain and a C2 domain. In addition both cotton PLD β isoforms had a N-terminal "SPQY" rich domain which appeared to be unique to these PLDs. The three PLD δ isoforms, designated Ghpldδ1a, Ghpldδ1b and Ghpldδ1b-2 encode full-length PLDδ proteins, and like the above PLDs, contained the characteristic catalytic and regulatory domains. The expression of Ghpldδ1b showed hydrolytic and transphosphatidylation activity toward radiolabelled phosphatidylcholine (PC) but it appears Ghpldδ1b does not utilize NAPE as a substrate to produce NAEs nor does it seem to be suppressed by NAEs.
- Molecular and Functional Characterization of Medicago Truncatula Npf17 Gene
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Legumes are unique among plants for their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen with the help of soil bacteria rhizobia. Medicago truncatula is used as a model legume to study different aspects of symbiotic nitrogen fixation. M. truncatula, in association with its symbiotic partner Sinorhizobium meliloti, fix atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, which the plant uses for amino acid biosynthesis and the bacteria get reduced photosynthate in return. M. truncatula NPF1.7 previously called MtNIP/LATD is required for symbiotic nitrogen fixing root nodule development and for normal root architecture. Mutations in MtNPF1.7 have defects in these processes. MtNPF1.7 encodes a member of the NPF family of transporters. Experimental results showing that MtNPF1.7 functioning as a high-affinity nitrate transporter are its expression restoring chlorate susceptibility to the Arabidopsis chl1-5 mutant and high nitrate transport in Xenopus laevis oocyte system. However, the weakest Mtnip-3 mutant allele also displays high-affinity nitrate transport in X. laevis oocytes and chlorate susceptibility to the Atchl1-5 mutant, suggesting that MtNPF1.7 might have another biochemical function. Experimental evidence shows that MtNPF1.7 also functions in hormone signaling. Constitutive expression of MtNPF1.7 in several species including M. truncatula results in plants with a robust growth phenotype. Using a synthetic auxin reporter, the presence of higher auxin in both the Mtnip-1 mutant and in M. truncatula plants constitutively expressing MtNPF1.7 was observed. Previous experiments showed MtNPF1.7 expression is hormone regulated and the MtNPF1.7 promoter is active in root and nodule meristems and in the vasculature. Two potential binding sites for an auxin response factors (ARFs) were found in the MtNPF1.7 promoter. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-qRT-PCR confirmed MtARF1 binding these sites. Mutating the MtARF1 binding sites increases MtNPF1.7 expression, suggesting a mechanism for auxin repression of MtNPF1.7. Consistent with these results, constitutive expression of an ARF in wild-type plants partially phenocopies Mtnip-1 mutants’ phenotypes.
- Noncovalent crosslinking of SH1 and SH2 to detect dynamic flexibility of the SH1 helix
- In this experiment, fluorescent N- (1-pyrenyl) iodoacetamide modified the two reactive thiols, SH1 (Cys 707) and SH2 (Cys 697) on myosin to detect SH1-SH2 a -helix melting. The excimer forming property of pyrene is well suited to monitor the dynamics of the SH1 and SH2 helix melting, since the excimer should only form during the melted state. Decreased anisotropy of the excimer relative to the monomeric pyrene fluorescence is consistent with the disordering of the melted SH1-SH2 region in the atomic model. Furthermore, nucleotide analogs induced changes in the anisotropy of the excimer, suggesting that the nucleotide site modulates the flexibility of SH1-SH2 region.
- NSAID effect on prostanoids in fishes: Prostaglandin E2 levels in bluntnose minnows (Pimephales notatus) exposed to ibuprofen.
- Prostanoids are oxygenated derivatives of arachidonic acid with a wide range of physiological effects in vertebrates including modulation of inflammation and innate immune responses. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) act through inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX) conversion of arachidonic acid to prostanoids. In order to better understand the potential of environmental NSAIDS for interruption of normal levels COX products in fishes, we developed an LC/MS/MS-based approach for tissue analysis of 7 prostanoids. Initial studies examining muscle, gut and gill demonstrated that prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) was the most abundant of the measured prostanoids in all tissues and that gill tissue had the highest and most consistent concentrations of PGE2. After short-term 48-h laboratory exposures to concentrations of 5, 25, 50 and 100 ppb ibuprofen, 50.0ppb and 100.0 ppb exposure concentrations resulted in significant reduction of gill tissue PGE2 concentration by approximately 30% and 80% respectively. The lower exposures did not result in significant reductions when compared to unexposed controls. Measured tissue concentrations of ibuprofen indicated that this NSAID had little potential for bioaccumulation (BCF 1.3) and the IC50 of ibuprofen for inhibition of PGE2 production in gill tissue was calculated to be 0.4 µM. Short-term laboratory exposure to ibuprofen did not result in significant alteration of concentrations of PGE2 at environmentally relevant concentrations.
- Nucleotide Inhibition of Glyoxalase II
- The glyoxalase system mediates the conversion of methylglyoxal, a toxic ketoaldehyde, to D-lactic acid. The system is composed of two enzymes, glyoxalase I (Glo-I) and glyoxalase II (Glo-II), and exhibits an absolute requirement for a catalytic quantity of glutathione (GSH). Glo-I catalyzes the isomerization of a hemithioacetal, formed non-enzymatically from methylglyoxal and GSH, to the corresponding a -D-hydroxyacid thioester, s-D-lactoylglutathione (SLG). Glo-II catalyzes the irreversible breakdown of SLG to D-lactate and GSH. We have observed that ATP or GTP significantly inhibits the Glo-II activity of tissue homogenates from various sources. We have developed a rapid, one step chromatography procedure to purify Glo-II such that the purified enzyme remains "sensitive" to inhibition by ATP or GTP (Glo-II-s). Studies indicate that inhibition of Glo-II-s by nucleotides is restricted to ATP, GTP, ADP, and GDP, with ATP appearing most effective. Kinetics studies have shown that ATP acts as a partial non-competitive inhibitor of Glo-II-s activity, and further suggest that two kinetically distinguishable forms of the enzyme exist. The sensitivity of pure Glo-II-s to nucleotide inhibition is slowly lost on storage even at -80° C. This loss is accelerated at higher temperatures or in the presence of ATP. Kinetics studies on the resultant "insensitive" enzyme (Glo-II-i) show that a significant reduction of the affinity of the enzyme for the substrate, SLG, occurs and further suggest that only one form of the enzyme is kinetically distinguishable after "de-sensitization". Tryptophan fluorescence studies of the two enzyme preparations suggest that a subtle conformational change in the enzyme has occurred during de-sensitization. We have also observed that Glo-II-i is "resensitized" to nucleotide inhibition after incubation in the presence of a reagent that reduces disulfide bonds. The resensitized enzyme exhibits an increased KM value similar to that of the original Glo-II-s. Kinetics studies show that ATP or GTP again act as partial non-competitive inhibitors of the resensitized enzyme and suggest that only one form of the enzyme is present. The physiological significance of the two enzyme forms is discussed.
- Palmitoyl-acyl Carrier Protein Thioesterase in Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.): Biochemical and Molecular Characterization of a Major Mechanism for the Regulation of Palmitic Acid Content
- The relatively high level of palmitic acid (22 mol%) in cottonseeds may be due in part to the activity of a palmitoyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) thioesterase (PATE). In embryo extracts, PATE activity was highest at the maximum rate of reserve accumulation (oil and protein). The cotton FatB mRNA transcript abundance also peaked during this developmental stage, paralleling the profiles of PATE enzyme activity and seed oil accumulation. A cotton FatB cDNA clone was isolated by screening a cDNA library with a heterologous Arabidopsis FatB probe (Pirtle et al., 1999, Plant and Cell Physiology 40: 155-163). The predicted amino acid sequence of the cotton PATE preprotein had 63% identity to the Arabidopsis FatB thioesterase sequence, suggesting that the cotton cDNA clone probably encoded a FatB-type thioesterase. When acyl-CoA synthetase-minus E. coli mutants expressed the cotton cDNA, an increase in 16:0 free fatty acid content was measured in the culture medium. In addition, acyl-ACP thioesterase activity assays in E. coli lysates revealed that there was a preference for palmitoyl-ACP over oleoyl-ACP in vitro, indicating that the cotton putative FatB cDNA encoded a functional thioesterase with a preference for saturated acyl-ACPs over unsaturated acyl-ACPs (FatA). Overexpression of the FatB cDNA in transgenic cotton resulted in elevated levels of palmitic acid in transgenic somatic embryos compared to control embryos. Expression of the anti-sense FatB cDNA in transgenic cotton plants produced some plants with a dwarf phenotype. These plants had significantly smaller mature leaves, all with smaller cells, suggesting that these plants may have less palmitic acid available for incorporation into extraplastidial membrane lipids during cell expansion. Thus manipulation of FatB expression in cotton directly influenced palmitic acid levels. Collectively, data presented in this dissertation support the hypothesis that there indeed is a palmitoyl-ACP thioesterase in cotton, encoded by the isolated FatB cDNA, which plays a major role in regulating palmitic acid content of extraplastidial complex glycerolipids. This work forms the basis for future studies of the influence of palmitic acid content on plant membrane function and provides a key target for the metabolic engineering of palmitic acid levels in storage oils of developing cottonseeds.
- Physical, Chemical and Catalytic Properties of the Isozymes of Bovine Glucose Phosphate Isomerase
- Glucose phosphate isomerase (GPI) occurs in different bovine tissues as multiple, catalytically active isozymes which can be resolved by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and isoelectric focusing. GPI from bovine heart was purified to homogeneity and each of the isozymes was resolved. Four of the five isozymes were characterized with regard to their physical, chemical and catalytic properties in order to establish their possible physiological significance and to ascertain their molecular basis. The isozymes exhibited identical native (118 Kd) and subunit (59 Kd) molecular weights but had different apparent pi values of 7.2, 7.0, 6.8 and 6.6. Structural analyses showed that the amino terminus was blocked and the carboxyl terminal sequence was -Glu-Ala-Ser-Gly for all four isozymes. The most basic isozyme was more stable than the more acidic isozymes (lower pi values) at pH extremes, at high ionic strength, in the presence of denaturants or upon exposure to proteases. Kinetic constants, such as turnover number, Km and Ki values, were identical for all isozymes. Identical amino acid composition and peptide mapping by chemical cleavage at methionine and cysteine residues of the isozymes suggest a postsynthetic modification rather then a genetic origin for the in vivo isozymes. When the most basic isozyme was incubated in vitro under mild alkaline conditions, there was a spontaneous generation of the more acidic isozymes with electrophoretic properties identical to those found in vivo. The simultaneous release in ammonia along with the spontaneous shift to more acidic isozymes and changes in the specific cleavage of the Asn-Gly bonds by hydroxylamine of the acidic isozyme indicates deamidation as the probable molecular basis. In summary the isozymes appear to be the result of spontaneous, postsynthetic modifications involving the addition of an equal number of negative charges and are consistent with the deamidation process.
- Plastidial carbonic anhydrase in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.): characterization, expression, and role in lipid biosynthesis
- Recently, plastidial carbonic anhydrase (CA, EC 22.214.171.124) cDNA clones encoding functional CA enzymes were isolated from a nonphotosynthetic cotton tissue. The role of CA in photosynthetic tissues have been well characterized, however there is almost no information for the role of CA in nonphotosynthetic tissues. A survey of relative CA transcript abundance and enzyme activity in different cotton organs revealed that there was substantial CA expression in cotyledons of seedlings and embryos, both nonphotosynthetic tissues. To gain insight into the role(s) of CA, I examined CA expression in cotyledons of seedlings during post-germinative growth at different environmental conditions. CA expression in cotyledons of seedlings increased from 18 h to 72 h after germination in the dark. Seedlings exposed to light had about a 2-fold increase in CA activities when compared with seedlings kept in the dark, whereas relative CA transcript levels were essentially the same. Manipulation of external CO2 environments [zero, ambient (350 ppm), or high (1000 ppm)] modulated coordinately the relative transcript abundance of CA (and rbcS) in cotyledons, but did not affect enzyme activities. On the other hand, regardless of the external CO2 conditions seedlings exposed to light exhibited increase CA activity, concomitant with Rubisco activity and increased chlorophyll content. Our data revealed that steady-state levels of CA and rbcS transcripts are regulated at the transcriptional level in response to external CO2 conditions, while CA and Rubisco activities are modulated at the post-transcriptional level by light. Thus CA expression in cotyledons during post-germinative growth may be to “prime” cotyledons for the transition at the subcellular level for the transition from plastids to chloroplasts, where it provides CO2 for Rubisco during photosynthesis. Furthermore, CA expression increased during embryo maturation similar to oil accumulation. Specific sulfonamide inhibitors of CA activity significantly reduced the rate of [14C]-acetate incorporation into total lipids in cotton embryos and tobacco leaves and cell suspensions in vivo and in vitro. Similar results were obtained in chloroplasts isolated from leaves of transgenic CA antisense-suppressed tobacco plants (5% of wildtype activity). Collectively, these results support the notion that CA plays several physiological roles in nonphotosynthetic tissues.
- Proteomic Responses in the Gill of Zebrafish Following Exposure to Ibuprofen and Naproxen
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are among the most abundant environmental pharmaceutical contaminants. In this study, a proteomic analysis was conducted to identify proteins differentially expressed in gill tissue of zebrafish (Danio rerio) after a 14-day exposure to the NSAIDs ibuprofen or naproxen. A total of 104 proteins with altered expression as indicated by 2-dimensional electrophoresis were analyzed by liquid chromatography with ion trap mass spectrometry (MS/MS). A total of 14 proteins fulfilled our requirements for identification which included consistency among replicate gels as well as successful MS/MS ion searches with the MASCOT database. The most prominent feature of the differential protein expression observed after NSAID exposure was an up-regulation of proteins belonging to the globin family which are involved in the transport of oxygen from gills and availability of heme molecules required for synthesis of cyclooxygenase. Differential expression was observed at exposure concentrations as low as 1-10 µg/L indicating that altered gene expression may occur in fish subjected to environmentally realistic levels of NSAID exposure.
- Purification, Characterization and Receptor Binding of Human Colony-Stimulating Factor-1
- Human colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) was purified from the serum-free conditioned medium of a human pancreatic carcinoma cell line. The four-step procedure included chromatography on DEAE Sepharose, Con A Sepharose and HPLC on phenyl column and reverse-phase C-3 column. The purity of human CSF-1 was demonstrated by sodium dodecyl sulfatepolyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS—PAGE) as a single diffuse band with a molecular weight (Mr) of 42,000-50,000 and was further confirmed by a single amino-terminal amino acid residue of glutamate. Under reducing conditions, purified CSF-1 appeared on SDS-PAGE as a single protein band with a Mr of 21,000-25,000 and concurrently lost its biological activity, indicating that human CSF-1 consists of two similar subunits and that the intact quaternary structure is essential for biological activity. When treated with neuraminidase and endo-8~D~N—acetylglucosaminidase D, the Mr of CSF-1 was reduced to 36,000-40,000 and to a Mr of 18,000-20,000 in the presence of mercaptoethanol.
- Regulation of an S6/H4 Kinase in Crude Lymphosarcoma P1798 Preparations
- Purified S6/H4 kinase (Mr 60,000) requires autophosphorylation for activation. A rabbit anti-S6/H4 kinase peptide (SVIDPVPAPVGDSHVDGAAK) antibody recognized both the S6/H4 kinase holoenzyme and catalytic domain. Immunoreactivity with p60 kinase protein, and S6/H4 kinase activity were precisely correlated in fractions obtained from ion exchange chromatography of P1798 lymphosarcoma extracts. An enzyme which catalyzed the MgATP-dependent phosphorylation and activation of S6/H4 kinase coeluted with immunoreactivity from Mono 5, but not Mono Q chromatography. Since S6/H4 kinase is homologous with rac-activated PAK65, the observation that phosphorylation is also required for activation suggests a complex mechanism for in vivo activation of the S6/H4 kinase.
- The Relationship of Force on Myosin Subfragment 2 Region to the Coiled-Coiled Region of the Myosin Dimer
- The stability of myosin subfragment 2 was analyzed using gravitational force spectroscopy. The region was found to destabilize under physiological force loads, indicating the possibility that subfragment 2 may uncoil to facilitate actin binding during muscle contraction. As a control, synthetic cofilaments were produced to discover if the observations in the single molecule assay were due to the lack of the stability provided by the thick filament. Statistically, there was no difference between the single molecule assay data and the synthetic cofilament assay data. Thus, the instability of the region is due to intrinsic properties within subfragment 2.
- Stretching the Flexible Myosin II Subfragment Using the Novel Gravitational Force Spectroscope, and the Uncoiling of S2
- Familial Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) causes ventricle walls to thicken and often leads to sudden death especially in adults. Mutations in the subfragment 2 (S2) of β-cardiac myosin are implicated in the genetic disorder. This S2 region is a coiled-coil rod region resulting from the dimeric form of myosin II. It has been proposed that an elastic quality allows normal S2 to absorb force during the powerstroke according to the sliding filament model. To test the flexibility of single molecules of S2 against levels of physiological force, the Gravitational Force Spectrometer (GFS) is being developed. This novel system employs a standard microscope on an equatorial mount that allows the spectrometer to be rotated freely in space. Stationary glass beads are attached to a microscope slide where the molecule is tethered between the stationary bead and a smaller mobile bead. The GFS is oriented so that the force of gravity can act on the mobile bead and so impart a small force to the tethered subfragment. Additionally, a video system in conjunction with ImageJ software makes a distance measurement of the molecule possible with a resolution of around 11 nm. The S2 can be stretched parallel or perpendicular to the coiled coil to elucidate different structural properties of the rod. This study is the first to show structural evidence that S2 in vertebrate skeletal myosin uncoils proportionally to physiological force loads. Because of this, the usefulness and promise of the novel GFS is highlighted, and the biological role of S2's flexibility can be directly commented on. If the dimer undergoes uncoiling at physiological force loads as shown, then it is reasonable to think that this might occur in nature in response to the stress of the powerstroke on a single molecule. This unwinding could be to absorb force as a mechanism to protect the muscle fiber.
- The structure and function of troponin T upon metal ion binding and the detection of nucleic acid sequence variations.
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Numerous troponin T (TnT) isoforms are generated by alternative RNA splicing primarily in its NH2-terminal hypervariable region, but the functions of these isoforms are not completely understood. In this dissertation work, calcium and terbium binding behavior of several forms of TnT were investigated by spectroscopic and radioactive techniques. Chicken breast muscle TnT binds calcium and terbium through its NH2-terminal Tx motif (HEEAH)n with high affinity (10-6 mM) and fast on-rate (106 - 107 M-1 s-1). Chicken leg muscle TnT and a human cardiac TnT NH2-terminal fragment, which both lack the Tx motif on their NH2-terminal regions, do not have affinities for calcium in the physiological range. Computational predictions on TnT N47 suggest that the TnT NH2-terminal region might fold into an elongated structure with at least one high affinity metal ion binding pocket comprised primarily of the Tx motif sequence and several lower affinity binding sites. In addition, calcium binding to TnT N47 might alter its conformation and flexibility. Luminescence resonance energy transfer measurements and other experimental observations are consistent with the computational predictions suggesting the computational simulated atomic model is reasonable. TnT mutations are responsible for 15% of familiar hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHC) cases with a phenotype of relatively mild hypertrophy, but a high incidence of sudden death. Detection of those genetic mutations would facilitate the clinical diagnosis and initiation of treatment at an early stage. This dissertation also investigated a novel hybridization proximity assay (HYPA) combining molecular beacon and luminescence resonance energy transfer (LRET) technologies. Experimental results suggest that a shared stem probe design produces a more consistent response upon hybridization, whereas the internally labeled probe was less consistent, but can yield the highest responses. Using the optimally designed molecular probes, the HYPA provides a detection of alterations in nucleic acid structure of as little as a single nucleotide. This novel HYPA is expected to expand its applications in the analysis and screening of genetic diseases.
- Studies of Enzyme Mechanism Using Isotopic Probes
- The isotope partitioning studies of the Ascaris suum NAD-malic enzyme reaction were examined with five transitory complexes including E:NAD, E:NAD:Mg, E:malate, E:Mg:malate, and E:NAD:malate. Three productive complexes, E:NAD, E:NAD:Mg, and E:Mg:malate, were obtained, suggesting a steady-state random mechanism. Data for trapping with E:14C-NAD indicate a rapid equilibrium addition of Mg2+ prior to the addition of malate. Trapping with 14C-malate could only be obtained from the E:Mg2+:14C-malate complex, while no trapping from E:14C-malate was obtained under feasible experimental conditions. Most likely, E:malate is non-productive, as has been suggested from the kinetic analysis. The experiment with E:NAD:malate could not be carried out due to the turnover of trace amounts of malate dehydrogenase in the pulse solution. The equations for the isotope partitioning studies varying two substrates in the chase solution in an ordered terreactant reaction were derived, allowing a determination of the relative rates of substrate dissociation to the catalytic reaction for each of the productive transitory complexes. NAD and malate are released from the central complex at an identical rate, equal to the catalytic rate.
- Studies of the Mechanism of Plasma Cholesterol Esterification in Aged Rats
- The study was performed to determine factors influencing the esteriflcation of plasma cholesterol in young and aged rats. The distribution of LCAT activity was determined following gel nitration chromatography and ultracentrifugation of whole plasma respectively. When rat plasma was fractionated on a Bio-Gel A-5 Mcolumn, LCAT activity was found to be associated with the HDL fraction. A similar result was observed upon 24 hr density gradient ultracentrifugation of the plasma. However, following prolonged 40 hr preparative ultracentrifugation, the majority of the LCAT activity was displaced into the lipoprotein-free infranatant fraction (d> 1.225 g/ml). The dissociation of LCAT from the HDL fraction occured to a smaller extent in aged rat plasma than in young rat plasma. Plasma incubation (37°C) experiments followed by the isolation of lipoproteins and the subsequent analysis of their cholesterol content revealed that in vitro net esteriflcation of free cholesterol (FC) by LCAT as well as the fractional ufilization of HDL-FC as substrate were lower in the plasma of the aged animal as compared to that of the young animal despite the fact that the total pool of FC was higher in the former. The net transfer of FC from lower density lipoproteins (d<1.07 g/ml) to HDL provided the FC (in addition to HDL-FC) for esteriflcation in the plasma of both young and aged rats, and this process was not substantially affected by aging. Substrate specificity studies indicated that HDL from young rats was a better substrate for LCAT than the HDL from aged rats. The HDL isolated from the plasma of aged rats was enriched with apo E and had a considerably higher molecular weight than the HDL from young rat plasma. The ratio of phosphatidyl choline/sphingomyelin was lower in the HDL of aged rats. These data suggest that the decreased plasma cholesterol esteriflcation in aged rats is due to changes in the composition and size of the lipoprotein substrate (HDL).
- Studies of the Mechanism of the Catalytic Subunit of cAMP Dependent Protein Kinase
- The kinetic mechanism of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase has been determined to be random in the direction of MgADP phosphorylation by using initial velocity studies in the absence and presence of the product, phospho-Serpeptide (Leu-Arg-Arg-Ala-Ser[P]-Leu-Gly) , and dead-end inhibitors. In contrast to the kinetic parameters obtained in the direction of Serpeptide phosphorylation, the only kinetic parameters affected by Mg^2+ are the dissociation constants for E:phospho-Serpeptide and E:MgADP, which are decreased by about 4-fold. The dead-end analog MgAMPCP binds with an affinity equal to that of MgADP in contrast to MgAMPPCP, which binds weaker than MgATP. The ratio of the maximum velocities in the forward and reverse reactions is about 200, and the Haldane relationship gives a K-eq of (7.2 ± 2) x 10^2. The latter can be compared to the K-eq obtained by direct measurement of reactant concentrations (2.2 ± 0.4) x 10^3 and 31-P NMR (1 ± 0.5) x 10^3. Data for the pH dependence of kinetic parameters and inhibitor dissociation constants for the cAMP dependent protein kinase are consistent with a mechanism in which reactants selectively bind to an enzyme with the catalytic base unprotonated and an enzyme group required protonated for Ser-peptide binding. Preferentially MgATP binds fully ionized and requires an enzyme residue (probably lysine) to be protonated. The maximum velocity and V/K-MgATP are pH independent. The V/K for Serpeptide is bell-shaped with estimated pK values of 6.2 and 8.5. The dependence of 1/K-i for Leu-Arg-Arg-Ala-Ala-Leu-Gly is also bell-shaped, giving pK values identical with those obtained for V/K-Serpeptide, while the K-i for MgAMPPCP increases from a constant value of 650 μM above pH 8 to a constant value of 4 mM below pH 5.5. The K-i for uncomplexed Mg^2+ obtained from the Mg^2+ dependence of V and V/K-MgATP is apparently pH independent.
- Studies on actomyosin crossbridge flexibility using a new single molecule assay.
- Several key flexure sites exist in the muscle crossbridge including the actomyosin binding site which play important roles in the actomyosin crossbridge cycle. To distinguish between these sources of flexibility, a new single molecule assay was developed to observe the swiveling of rod about a single myosin. Myosins attached through a single crossbridge displayed mostly similar torsional characteristics compared to myosins attached through two crossbridges, which indicates that most of the torsional flexibility resides in the myosin subfragment-2, and thus the hinge between subfragment-2 and light meromyosin should contribute the most to this flexibility. The comparison of torsional characteristics in the absence and presence of ADP demonstrated a small but significant increase in twist rates for the double-headed myosins but no increase for single-headed myosins, which indicates that the ADP-induced increase in flexibility arises due to changes in the myosin head and verifies that most flexibility resides in myosin subfragment-2.
- Studies on Hog Plasma Lecithin:cholesterol Acyltransferase: Isolation and Characterization of the Enzyme
- Lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) was isolated from hog plasma and basic physicochemical properties and functionally important regions were investigated. Approximately one milligram of the enzyme was purified to apparent homogeneity with approximately a 20,000-fold increase in specific activity. In the plasma, hog LCAT was found to associate with high-density lipoproteins (HDL) probably through hydrophobic interactions with apolipoprotein A-I. HDL was the preferred lipoprotein substrate of the enzyme as its macromolecular substrate. The enzyme was found to contain 4 free sulfhydryl groups; at least one of these appeared to be essential for catalytic activity. The enzyme had a tendency to aggregate at high concentrations. More than half of the tryptophan and none of the tyrosine residues of the enzyme were shown to be exposed to the aqueous environment based on fluorescence and absorbance studies, respectively.
- A Study of the Intrinsic Fluorescence of O-Acetyl-L-Serine Sulfhydrylase-A from Salmonella typhimurium
- O-Acetyl-L-serine sulfhydrylase-A (OASS-A) forms acetate and L-cysteine from O-acetyl-L-serine (OAS) and sulfide. One molecule of the cofactor pyridoxal 5'- phosphate (PLP) is bound in each holoenzyme protomer.
- Tobacco Phospholipase D β1: Molecular Cloning and Biochemical Characterization
- Transgenic tobacco plants were developed containing a partial PLD clone in antisense orientation. The PLD isoform targeted by the insertion was identified. A PLD clone was isolated from a cDNA library using the partial PLD as a probe: Nt10B1 shares 92% identity with PLDβ1 from tomato but lacks the C2 domain. PCR analysis confirmed insertion of the antisense fragment into the plants: three introns distinguished the endogenous gene from the transgene. PLD activity was assayed in leaf homogenates in PLDβ/g conditions. When phosphatidylcholine was utilized as a substrate, no significant difference in transphosphatidylation activity was observed. However, there was a reduction in NAPE hydrolysis in extracts of two transgenic plants. In one of these, a reduction in elicitor- induced PAL expression was also observed.
- Use of luminescence energy transfer probes to detect genetic variants.
- The purpose of this research was to study the hybridization of molecular beacons under different conditions and designs. Data collected suggest that the inconsistency found in the emission intensity of several of these probes may be caused by 3 important factors: length of the probe, nucleotide sequence and, the formation of an alternative complex structure such as a dimer. Of all three factors, dimer formation is the most troublesome, since it reduces the emission of the reporter molecules. A new probe design was used to reduce dimer formation. The emission signal of the improved probe was several folds stronger than those probes with the early design. In this research, dimer formation is detected, furthermore a new probe with a different design was tested. If dimer formation can be reduced molecular beacons can be integrated into more complex hybridization systems providing an important tool in research and diagnosis of genetic disorders.